Within a five-minute period of taking a simple stroll around campus I was able to point out eight people who were glued to their phones. They looked as though the only way someone could possibly distract them from it was if a flare gun was shot in their general direction; even then, there is still a chance that they might not have noticed. Upon thinking about this further I was pretty grossed out and I started to run through questions: what has society done to deserve this mind numbing addiction and am I a part of it?
To find somewhat of an answer I decided to put down my phone for a week and get back to the basics. I made up my mind that I would only use my cellular device as originally intended, a simple phone used to make calls and nothing more. I thought last Friday would be as good a day as any, but as the day progressed I kept procrastinating and I still continuously checked my emails, Twitter, and Instagram. Eventually I thought Monday would work because really I would only need five days to prove my strength and self-control. However, I kept using it. I decided to compromise with myself and only put it down for homework time, and even at that I failed miserably.
I still continuously checked my emails, twitter, and instagram.
As I recognized my weakness my thoughts began to reel. Am I not better than the cellular dependents? Why am I so stuck on this tiny, inconsequential device that seems to have the ability to control my life?
Well, as it would happen I am no better off than the average phone user. I too am counted among most of the population who looks at their phone an average of at least 150 times per day, or rather once every 6.5 minutes per every hour someone is awake.
According to a poll done by Time magazine, 84% of Americans say they could not possibly go a day without their beloved cell phones. To me, this seems like a societal addiction. An article written by the Huffington Post claimed that a cell phone addiction is most likely caused by the same issues that lead to shopping addictions such as materialism and impulsiveness, and everyone knows that Americans have a huge problem with both of those.
Portlandia, a sketch comedy show written by and starring Fred Armisen and Carrie Brownstein, makes fun of this dependency. In one scene Fred is in a technology loop where he can’t stop checking his phone and computer and even with the help of his friend Carrie it is all still too much for him and his brain has a serious malfunction. Even though this is an exaggerated scenario, it still depicts a larger issue at hand. As time goes on and Apple releases another version of the iPhone, society will become more and more attached to their smart phones and will leave little room to enjoy anything that is not on their phone screen.
The opinions on this page do not necessarily reflect those of The Sandspur, its staff or Rollins College.